she instagram herself likeI’ve never really considered myself an easy like on Instagram. I want you to earn that laborious little double tap, you know? I mean, unless you’re @harlowandsage, you better believe that I am putting in at least four seconds of thought before I decide whether or not to like your photo. Sometimes I’m more forgiving and less deliberate (like when I’m drunk or just surfacing from sleep), but for the most part I try to be very mindful about the grams that I heart.

I realize, however, that not everyone is like me when it comes to their likes. Different people like different things for different reasons (news flash, I know), and there’s no place this shines through clearer than on Instagram. I know that when I post, I am just as concerned with how many likes I get (shout out to all my 11th likes out there—you the real MVPs) as what kind of likes I get, because there is definitely a taxonomy of Instagram likes. Are you, like me, a Reluctant Like? Or maybe you’re an Easy Like? For one person you could be a #Blessed Like, but for another you could just be the Conspicuously Absent Like. Only you1 know.

The Expected/Easy Like

This is that person who always likes your photos even though you don’t reaaaalllly know them and maybe you’re not even following them back but I guess they just really enjoy your aesthetic? Which, like, thanks for your steadfast support.

The Landscape Like

The person that only goes out for your sunset/clouds from the airplane window/city skyline photos.

touch the sky ft. @claudiajo and @eljefenator56; merry christmas y’all 🎄 #cloudporn #morninghike

A photo posted by hannah mae 🐙 (@hannahmaetion) on Dec 25, 2014 at 7:42am PST

The #SQUAD Like

AKA The Best Friend Like, these likes come fast and regular from your #SQUAD on any and all photos because that’s what the #SQUAD does. The #SQUAD supports. The #SQUAD takes an interest. The #SQUAD might even martyr themselves to be your 11th like. In #SQUAD you trust.

The Girlcrush/Boycrush Like

Maybe you don’t actually know this person IRL, or maybe you don’t even follow them but their profile is public, but if liking their photo is wrong, then you don’t want to be right.

The #Wayyyyyyup You Feel #Blessed Like

We all have them. This is the person who NEVER likes ANY photos but then, out of the clear blue sky (perhaps that you just grammed), this person likes one of your photos (usually and oddly not one of your better ones) and you immediately feel anointed. This person is just a lurker who never engages or they are very aloof and dole out their likes like there’s a quota and they don’t want to exceed it.

The Reluctant Like

Not to be confused with the #Blessed Like, this is a like that you have to earn. Sometimes this person won’t even like your photo but will comment on it with some kind of praise emoji i.e., the thumbs up or fire.


The pinnacle of passive-aggressiveness, this like basically says, “I see you doing whatever sick thing you’re doing that I’m not included in and I want you to know that I know. So now you know.”

The Nom Like

This is your dieting or GF friend who is living vicariously through all of your food/mimosa brunch grams.

The Conspicuously Absent Like

This one goes out to the person who really should be a #SQUAD Like but somehow manages to never like any of your photos. Maybe they simply don’t traffic in social media currency, maybe they are withholding their likes from you on purpose, or maybe you just assign meaning to trivial things, but either way: the absence of their likes does not go unnoticed.

The Mom Like

Shouts to all the moms on IG. You are brave and endearing and damn, do you love emojis. Alternatively, this like is not only by moms but for moms, because everyone knows a photo of your mom on Instagram gets at least 20 likes.

hey mama

A photo posted by hannah mae 🐙 (@hannahmaetion) on

The Pity Like

For those photos that don’t have a lot of likes but hey, the vulnerability in me honors the vulnerability in you.

The I See You Baby, Shakin’ That Ass Like

Like a subtle head nod, this comes from someone that maybe you’ve *liaised* with before. Or maybe you haven’t, and this is them telling you that future *liaisons* are welcome. sup

The WTF Like

You probably have a very peripheral knowledge of this person (read: old ex’s new flame) but don’t ever actually think about them until they like one of your innocuous, generic brunch photos from a couple weeks ago and you’re left totally perplexed and a little scared. (Speaking for a friend, of course.)

The Across the World Like

For all those people with public profiles, this like is cool but never stops being a little weird. It usually comes from very enthusiastic pre-teens in Asia or Latin America. Globalization!

The I Guess You Had to Be There and I Actually Was Like

These come on event- or location-specific photos i.e., Coachella.

The Like Like

Probably the rarest species of like, this double-tap truly comes from a genuine place of appreciation for your (probably) amateur photography skills.


I assume that because I am deliberate in my Instagram likes that other people are, too. I suppose that this is probably a bit (or a lot) judgmental, but I think we all have to find a way to navigate through the clusterfuck of social media and this is mine. It is 100% possible that every time you hop on Instagram and scroll through your feed you simply like the photos that speak to you. I think that is wonderful, honestly. Snap Instagram likes—like gut instincts and kneejerk reactions—are usually the most authentic, and I’m trying to let myself do that more. Because I think there’s something really respectable about being an Expected/Easy Like, even if my Reluctant Like sensibilities rail against it. But whatever kind of like you are, I think we can all agree that the Deep Like is the most unsettling, because friends don’t let friends like photos from 57 weeks ago. Happy double-tapping, y’all.